Tips for Preparing for a FEMA Inspection
Natural disaster in Colorado Springs, CO
Prepare for The Inspector's Visit
A tornado or other natural disaster can be devastating to your home. When emergencies like this occur in Colorado Springs, CO, FEMA often steps in to offer assistance. There are several things you can do to prepare for the inspector's visit. Taking the following actions can make the process go more smoothly so that you can get the help you need.
- Find the deed to your home. In order to get assistance after a flood, you must be able to prove that the home is yours. While you may keep copies of the deed in your files at home, it is a good idea to store the original document in a safety deposit box at a bank. You may also consider scanning it and saving a digital copy remotely. Having several copies that you can access different ways helps to ensure that you have the documentation you need when seeking disaster relief.
- Know what to expect. FEMA inspectors are not insurance adjusters, although the agency may send an adjuster out to assess the damage to your home. Inspectors document the items that were destroyed by flooding. They may work with adjusters and storm remediation experts to determine what can be salvaged and what must be thrown away.
- Consider hiring an independent adjuster. When an agency or insurance company sends an adjuster out to survey the damage to your home, he or she may have a vested interest in underestimating what it will cost to resolve the problems. Pay attention during the walkthrough conducted in your home. If you are dissatisfied with the assessment, it may be smart to hire a public adjuster who can be more objective.
Natural disasters can cause a lot of damage, but there are agencies, such as FEMA, that can help repair your home and get you back on your feet. By having your paperwork in order and paying attention throughout the assessment process, you may be able to speed up your recovery timeline.
Five Leading Causes of Home Fires
Kitchen fire due to faulty wiring on the wall in Colorado Springs,CO
Have you ever wondered if one type of incident or action is more likely to lead to a home fire than another? As it turns out, there are five fire causes that are more prevalent than others. Read on to learn what they are and what you can do to avoid them.
Cooking fires are the number-one cause of all fires in the United States. They usually occur when someone leaves a kitchen appliance unattended while cooking. Frying creates the greatest threat.
2. Heating Appliances
Devices such as furnaces and space heaters also pose a great fire risk. Much like with cooking fires, many of these accidents happen when a piece of equipment is left unattended or if it is operated incorrectly.
3. Electrical Gear
A home fire can also be caused by equipment used for electrical or lighting purposes. This includes lamps, power outlets and other objects that run on electricity. Once again, careful and attentive operation of electrical devices is crucial to stay safe.
4. Intentional Situations
Unfortunately, many fires are started intentionally by those wishing to create chaos and destruction. Arson makes up the fourth largest category of household fires in the United States. Many perpetrators are under the age of eighteen.
5. Smoking-Related Accidents
Smoke-related fires are the fifth most common kind in the United States. Always practice common sense safety procedures if you are planning on smoking in or near your Colorado Springs, CO, home.
A home fire is never pleasant to think about, but knowing the leading causes of these disasters can help you to avoid some of them and the aftermath of a fire, which can include fire cleaning. Remember to always call for help and evacuate the premises if a fire begins at home. Being educated is one of the first steps to take in order to keep your house, your family and yourself safer each day.
How Business Insurance Coverage Works
Water damage in commercial building in Colorado Springs,CO
Your business in Colorado Springs,CO, needs protection from a variety of potential problems. Basic property insurance is a must, but you also may benefit from flood or storm insurance. While your insurance agent is able to advise you on the policies that you should include in your commercial package, it doesn't hurt to have an overview of the information before you meet with him or her.
Types of Coverage
It takes a village of policies to cover a commercial property adequately. There are several types of insurance coverage to think about:
- Property insurance – covers general repairs, such as water damage from leaks, caused by accidents or external factors
- Flood insurance – covers more extensive damage caused by prolonged rainfall, overflowing rivers and streams and breaking dams or levees.
- Storm insurance – covers damage from wind, hail or other elements of the specific storms listed in the policy
You may also consider a business continuity policy so that you have the working capital to stay afloat while storm remediation experts are working to return your building to an inhabitable space.
Dollar vs. Percentage
Insurance policies can have different types of deductibles. Many plans have dollar deductibles. A specific amount stated in the policy must be paid before insurance kicks in. These deductibles are often determined by the standard rate for the area, and raising the amount may result in lower premiums for the policy. A percentage deductible is sometimes used in storm and flood policies to lower the risk for the insurance company. Because the damage covered by these policies tends to be large, so do the payouts. This deductible depends on a percentage of the property's overall value.
When shopping for commercial insurance coverage, a basic property policy isn't enough to cover everything that might come your way. It's a good idea to add additional policies, such as flood and storm insurance, so that you can be confident that you will be able to overcome any damage that happens to your property.
How to Prevent Water Damage: Managing the Calm, So There is No Storm
Leaking refrigerator supply line can lead to water damage to your Colorado Springs,CO home
As long as faucets and drains function correctly, most homeowners don’t pay attention to water in the home. However, when that water is suddenly overflowing spaces and causing damage to property, homeowners take notice. The tips below will help you manage the calm now so that there are no water issues later.
1. Perform Routine Maintenance
Most elements of a home require routine maintenance to ensure that everything continues to function correctly, and this is no different for plumbing. Most plumbing systems should be cleaned out and inspected once or twice a year. This pipe cleanup and maintenance helps to protect your home from experiencing significant water damage.
2. Keep an Eye on Appliances
While water in the home is necessary for daily routines, care should be taken around appliances, both old and new. From small leaks behind the dishwasher to failed seals under the toilet, appliances are some of the most common culprits of water damage. Again, routine maintenance can help catch most of these issues before any significant problems occur.
3. Install Preventative Measures
A clogged or broken pipe can lead to extensive damage both cosmetically and structurally, but the installation of backflow valves and sump pumps can help to prevent any potential problems. Additionally, the installation of waterproofing systems and gutter systems can help to keep the lower levels of your home dry.
4. Conduct Bi-Annual Inspections
In addition to routine maintenance, you may want to conduct bi-annual inspections, spring and fall, to pinpoint any areas of concern. Hiring a professional in Colorado Springs, CO, can be a wise choice because they will be equipped to give you a thorough understanding of the health of your home and its plumbing.
Again, water in the home is necessary, but it must be contained and controlled to prevent costly repairs and damage. Homeowners have a responsibility to their property, to maintain it and care for it. By performing routine maintenance, being mindful of appliances, and conducting regular inspections, homeowners can protect both their home and their family.
Don’t Be Sorry, Be Proactive about Preventative Business Measures
Air movers on a commercial water loss in Fountain, CO
A pipe break can lead to water damage which ultimately leads to filing a business claim. The claim process can be extensive and can cause an interruption in the business for days or possibly weeks. Taking small steps now, however, can reduce the risk of having to file any water-related claim.
1. Insulate Exposed Pipes
Insulating any pipes that are exposed to frigid temperatures can reduce the risk of burst pipes. The insulation will prevent the buildup of ice inside the pipe; therefore, reducing the risk of increased pressure.
2. Maintain a Consistent Temperature
Allowing a building to go below 55°F consistently dramatically increases the risks of frozen pipes and pipe breaks as well as filing a business claim and should be avoided if possible.
3. Keep Drainage Areas Clear
Preventing minor flooding can be as easy as keeping drainage areas clear. This can be done by inspecting drains, downspouts, and gutters frequently to ensure that there are no blockages that would encourage backflow.
4. Remove Excess Snow
Another way of preventing minor flooding and even possible roof damage is to remove any excess snow. Snow not only increases the load on your roof but during the thaw it is possible that the melting snow will seep into minor imperfections and weaken the structure of the roof.
5. Fix Leaks and Cracks
It may also be a good idea to regularly walk the perimeter of your building, checking the foundation in exterior for any cracks or leaks. Any minor imperfections can usually be corrected with exterior sealants; however, significant cracks may require the use of a restoration company in the Fountain, CO, area.
6. Protect Valuable Items
While performing any of these preventative steps can reduce the risk of water damage, it may still be wise to protect any valuable items by keeping them above ground level and even in waterproof bins.
While a business claim is not necessarily a bad thing, it can take time to process, and that is valuable time that your business cannot afford to lose, which is why it’s better to be proactive rather than sorry.
Simplify the Cleanup and Restoration by Making a Flood Cut
Air remover on a flood damage in a Colorado Springs, CO home
If your home in Colorado Springs, CO, has been damaged by flooding, one of the first issues that needs to be addressed is damaged drywall. A flood cut is a trick to save as much of the undamaged drywall as possible while the damaged portion is being removed. This keeps the restoration costs down and shortens the time to completion. A flood cut is a relatively simple process and happens in three steps.
1. Mark Where the Drywall Will Be Cut
When the flooding is over, there will be a visible high-water line going all through your home. Making a flood cut starts with marking a point 12 inches above that high-water line. The idea is that the damage behind the wall does not extend more than 12 inches above that water line. Next, starting from that mark, draw a horizontal line around the rooms. A level and a chalk line are good tools for this job.
2. Score the Wallboard Along the Line
Using a utility or other sharp knife, make a deep cut in the drywall following the line drawn around the room. There is no need to cut all the way through because wallboard is brittle and will easily and cleanly break along a deep cut.
3. Remove Wallboard Below the Cut
The next step is to tear out the damaged drywall, starting at the floor and moving up to the cut line. If there is any water damage at the cut line, a new cut line needs to be made higher. Drywall removal should continue all along the cut until all the damaged drywall is removed. During this process, mold or other forms of contamination might become visible.
Finish the Restoration as Quickly as Possible
Flooding brings a variety of problems. Some, like mold, need to be addressed quickly. Local restoration experts can help by bringing their experience and resources to the job. This is not a job for amateurs.
Does Your Renter’s Insurance Cover Mold Damage?
Moldy ceiling from leaking sink above in a Colorado Springs, CO home
Some rental insurance includes limited coverage for mold damage, depending on which factors are carved out or included as endorsements to a policy. There are several factors to consider if you are experiencing mold growth and damage in a rental property and want to pursue mold removal.
Exclusions and Endorsements
Many insurance policies exclude certain kinds of damage. Some policies also have automatic endorsements that provide coverage for the following commonly excluded conditions:
If you have a policy with these areas carved out, you will need an automatic endorsement to restore even a limited amount of coverage. If your policy does not have endorsements for these conditions, you may not be able to count on coverage for mold remediation.
What Is and Isn't Covered
If mold growth results from a structural or general problem with a property, the responsibility for mold mitigation or removal rests with the owner. If you cause a leak in your unit, you will be liable for the damage. Rental insurance covers your personal effects or property. If you have coverage for mold and do everything you can to limit the extent of the damage, you may be able to file a claim.
Your Duty to Mitigate
Act quickly and reasonably to resolve underlying issues and stop the spread of mold growth. Most insurance companies require policyholders to fulfill their duty to mitigate to receive funds to offset the cost of property that must be replaced or restored by professionals.
If you discover mold in a rental property in Colorado Springs, CO, start by determining the extent of the damage for which you are responsible and which directly affects your contents or property. Next, determine whether your rental insurance includes any coverage for mold removal expenses. The most effective way to resolve the issue is to contact a certified residential mold damage remediation specialist.
3 Reasons You Need a Security Fence After a Fire
Kitchen fire damage in a Colorado Springs, CO home
You may think a security fence is not important after a fire in your building. You are probably wondering what else you could possibly lose after seeing the damage to your property? Believe it or not, you still have property to protect and liability to consider. Effective protection during the recovery stage is critical to protect your remaining property.
Here are 3 reasons why you need a fence:
- The property may be unsafe. While you don’t expect anyone to go into a building damaged by fire, you would be surprised that many people actually try. Employees looking for personal property, curious people, and opportunists may try to access your property. To protect their safety, and your liability, a fence can help.
- Some people see a burned building as an opportunity for theft and vandalism. Even though the building may be unsafe, some people will exploit the opportunity to take what remains.
- Once firefighters hand the property back to you, any additional damage that happens could be your financial responsibility. Even if a well-meaning person tries to help with recovery, they may cause further damage from something as simple as tracking soot and dirty water into carpet running what could otherwise have been recovered.
In addition to providing a security fence to protect your property from damage due to people, you will need to protect it from the weather as well. Boarding up exposed areas and covering the roof with a tarp are also important solutions to prevent further damage and cost.
This seems like a lot to think about, but a good professional restoration company will take care of tarps, boarding up and a security fence as part of the full array of services they provide in response to fire damage. You can count on the right company in Colorado Springs, CO to handle these and all aspects of your recovery, which saves you the hassle of dealing with multiple contacts.
The Dangers of Black Water
Sewage backup on laundry room in a Colorado Springs, CO home
Anytime water gets into your business, it’s a problem. Flood water can damage your property, furniture, electronics, and office items. In the worst cases, flooding can destroy everything in its path. However, the worst flooding situation you could encounter at your Colorado Springs, CO, business is a category 3 flood, which is when black water invades. This poses a severe health risk to everyone its way.
What is It?
Flooding can occur in many ways. A significant thunderstorm could roll into your town, and the excess rain could overwhelm your property’s drainage system, causing terrible storm damage. Or, a pipe could break in your home, spilling gallons of water onto your floor or in your walls. When flooding and sewage mix, you have black water.
- It’s so named because it contains feces from sewage systems.
- It can also occur when your toilet overflows.
- It can occur when city sewage systems back up during and after a large storm.
What Are the Dangers?
Because this type of flooding mixes with human waste, it poses a major health concern to anyone. It is best to call professional help to remove the water, and make sure you and your employees stay out of the water.
If you suspect this type of flood water, it’s vital that you leave the area to safety without delay. Do not touch the water or attempt to remove anything from it. Call a professional flood cleanup company right away.
What the Pros Will Do
A well-trained crew will come to your business to remove the water and ensure that it is once again safe to come inside. Crews will work with city utility teams to stop the water from coming into your building. The cleanup company will thoroughly dry and sanitize the affected area with the appropriate equipment.
Flood water mixed with sewage is nothing to take lightly. Make sure you understand the dangers and get a qualified company to handle the incident.
Have You Performed a Water Heater Flush This Year?
Water heater leak in a Colorado Springs, CO home
Because many home projects compete for your attention, water heater maintenance can be easily forgotten. Routine activities like running the dishwasher, showering or washing laundry depend on a properly functioning unit. Unseen problems may slowly develop into major disruptions in your hot water system.
How Should a Heater Be Flushed?
Performing a flush can help you identify problem areas. Before you start, establish a safety zone in the heater room. Then perform the following steps:
- To avoid electric shock, make sure floors and all other room surfaces are dry, and turn off your main water valve.
- Next, turn off the electric power circuit breaker or turn off the gas, depending on your heater's energy source.
- Wait several hours for the tank water to cool off.
- Attach a garden hose to your water heater drain, place the other end on your driveway, and open the tank drain so water can flow outside.
- Repeat until the unit is empty, then detach the hose, close the drain valve, turn on the main water supply, and safely restore the power.
When Are Flushes Recommended?
Although your heater may be working, these appliances lose effectiveness over time as water sediment builds up, so yearly flushing helps maintain the units in optimal condition. Certain signs may indicate that you need to schedule a water heater flush sooner.
What Are Some Early Warning Signs?
One of the first signs can be strange noises coming from the tank. Water may take longer to heat or leaks may begin to appear under the heater. Water discoloration or unpleasant odors can also signal problems.
What if There Is a Problem?
If you experience problems or feel you cannot safely perform a flush, you may want to call for professional assistance in Colorado Springs, CO. Some issues may need to be identified and resolved by an expert technician. You can receive the help you need and best solutions can also be evaluated.
Preventative yearly maintenance can maximize the life of your water heater and help identify problems while they are small enough to be fixed. That's always a good idea!